UI grade vs. Boston U: A-

UI grade vs. Boston U: A-

Player of the game
Rayvonte Rice, Illinois

When they are eating late-night breakfast at the Waffle House in Clemson, the Illini will have Rice to thank. The former Centennial star played like an All-American at Boston, scoring 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting and yanking down eight rebounds. Impressive work, Mr. Charger.

Illinois A, Boston U. C

Tracy Abrams struggled with his shooting, missing 4 of 5 shots from the field. But the junior helped in other ways with five rebounds and three assists. D.J. Irving led the Terriers with 17 points but the other two starters were 7 of 23. Not good.

Illinois B, Boston U. D+

We’re going to count freshman Malcolm Hill with the Illini big guys. His 10 points and eight rebounds an important reason the Illini play another day. Nnanna Egwu got in the heads of the opponent again, altering Terriers shots. The Boston U. starters combined for just four rebounds. Hard to win like that.

Illinois A-, Boston U. B+

Nice to see the spring back in the step of Joseph Bertrand, who scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds. Can Illinois find another year of eligibility for Jon Ekey? Two threes keeps his college career going.  The backup Terriers scored 18 points.

Illinois A-, Boston U. B-

Generally, it’s a bad idea to fall behind by 17 points. But John Groce deserves major credit for keeping his team in the game. He was smart enough to make sure Rice got the ball. A lot. And the Illini played the final minutes with great confidence. Off to South Carolina.

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beekay wrote on March 19, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Wow, you watched a different game than I did.  Our inability to close out on three point shooters nearly cost us that game.  I realize that we have to help on a penetrating dribbler, but we were paying a huge price by giving way too much daylight to the perimeter shooters.  There is a reason why teams this year shoot lights out from three against us - because we defend it poorly.  Our offense against the zone was horrendous.  We'd get slowed down by their press and wouldn't begin our offense until 20 on the shot clock, and then we just stood around accomplishing nothing.  Until Rice made a point to get to the hoop, the only Ilini player attempting to find a seam was Malcolm Hill.  I'm happy that we fought back and won in a postseason road game.  But you can't call a game when we didn't take the lead against a Patriot League opponent until about 2 minutes to go an A- grade.  I'd go no higher than B-.  It should have never been that difficult.  Very happy with the fight to come back and win though.

BruckJr wrote on March 19, 2014 at 10:03 pm

A-, really?  Did we even scout this team?  Did we not know that BU wins in only one way, and that is by shooting the three?  We are 30 games into the season and have absolutely no idea how to attack a 2-3 zone.

ax474 wrote on March 19, 2014 at 11:03 pm

Illinois won the game, so the coaches must have been doing something right.

Illinois shot better from 3, then BU, so I guess we beat them at their own game.

beekay wrote on March 20, 2014 at 12:03 am

Well, can't really say we beat them at their own game just because we shot 3 percentage points better from 3 point range.  Each team made the same number of field goals and BU made three more 3 pointers than us.  So they scored 3 more points off of field goals than we did.  The difference was free throws where we held a +7 advantage.  But yes, had we not made the three pointers that we made in the second half then we would surely have lost.  Given our struggles to score, I'd rather concentrate our efforts on perimeter defense than try to match the opposition's long range shooting proficiency.  We were definitely fortunate that BU shot under 50% from the line.